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Old 01-26-2011, 04:42 PM   #1
MonoLoco
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Default Stuck Tripel

On 12/18/2010 I brewed Strict Obervance Tripel from "Brewing Classic Styles". If I had looked the forum beforehand I might have tried a different recipe -- looks like a lot of others have had trouble with it. The pitching temp recommended in the recipe seems awfully low.

My OG was 1.100, a good bit higher than the recipe (1.081) due to boil off. I pitched at 65 degrees and raised the temperature to 70 gradually over the course of a week. After a couple of weeks in primary it got stuck at 1.065. Since I needed the primary fermenter, I racked the tripel to secondary and fermentation miraculously began again, finally stopping at 1.045 on 1/7/2011.

At this point I began to raise the temps beyond what the recipe specified but still within range of the yeast, ending up at 75 degrees. I also threw a stir bar in and have been agitating the yeast frequently with a large magnet. As of today it is at 1.034 and still moving slowly. The flavor is fantastic, but of course it's very sweet.

Strict Obervance Tripel, extract version
Pilsner LME = 10.4 lb
Cane Sugar = 2.5 lb
Wyeast 3787 THG (3 packs)

It's not looking like I'm going to get it down to the target FG of 1.012 by normal means. From studying the forum it looks like folks have had the best results by racking the stuck beer onto another yeast cake. My plan is to make a Belgian Strong Ale (with Wyeast 1388) and rack the tripel onto that cake once it's done.

Questions:

- Is this the best approach?
- I would rack the stuck Tripel onto the cake left by the Strong Ale in primary, correct? I've seen some comments about racking onto yeast from the secondary.
- Since the Tripel is bigger than the Strong Ale, I shouldn't have too much of an issue with flavor changing?

Thanks for any insight.

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Old 01-26-2011, 04:51 PM   #2
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1) Probably
2) Primary
3) Naw

With any of my 'big' Belgian beers, I've found you really can't have too much yeast. I like to make an enkel/patersbier as a "starter" for my tripels and a dubbel for my BDSs. I just siphon off the first beer, and pitch the new wort directly onto the old yeast cake. I can generally hit 1.010 within a week that way without any additional effort.

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Old 01-26-2011, 04:58 PM   #3
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Nateo has a great system for having enough yeast, brewing a smaller but similar beer beforehand as a "starter" to grow the yeast. You mentioned using 3 vials of 3787. That must have been expensive!

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Old 01-26-2011, 05:07 PM   #4
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I know this is in hindsight now, but a large starter would have been better for this recipe. According to my calculation, you would need 4 packs for an OG of 1.100. While I like the recipes in that book, I think some of the instructions are misleading. For example, he typically says to pitch X number vials or make an appropriate starter. Well, pitching X number of vials assumes high viability of your yeast, which isn't always the case. In fact, in my experience its almost never the case. I followed his Weizenbock recipe and pitched 3 vials (instead of a starter) and got stuck around 1.037. Turned out the yeast did not have high viability and a starter would of been the better choice.

At this point, you can try racking on the belgian ale yeast cake or making a starter and pitching at high krausen (if possible).

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Old 01-26-2011, 05:08 PM   #5
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I got the idea from either Brew Like a Monk or Hieronymus' Brewing with Wheat, I believe. It was one of the brewers talking about how their yeast propagation system uses low gravity versions of their recipes. "The yeast should know what it'll be asked to do" or something along those lines. So my smaller beers have similar percentages of sugar and malt and similar SRM and IBUs.

Since I've started using this method, I've yet to have a stuck ferment. *knocks on wood*

As a side bonus, this gives me a beer to drink while I'm waiting for the bigger beer to age properly, so I don't get impatient and drink it too soon.

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Old 01-26-2011, 05:15 PM   #6
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Myself, I never ferment a Belgian (for the most part) below 80 degrees, usually as high as 85 and once I even hit the low 90's. While not an exact answer to your question, raise the temp, you are, in my opinion, too cold for a Belgian. Also, throw in some fermaid, it'll drop the fg another 5 to 10 points.

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Old 01-26-2011, 09:45 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for your input -- I appreciate it.

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Old 01-26-2011, 09:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsnadon View Post
Also, throw in some fermaid, it'll drop the fg another 5 to 10 points.
Is it advisable to oxygenate again when adding the Fermaid?
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:59 PM   #9
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I wouldn't. The time I used it, I put in the recommened amount and gave a gentle stir. It was for a Belgian too, am Abbey style. Later that day it was fermenting again and finished up two days later. The fg dropped from the high 20's to the teens.

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